Oakland Mayor Launches Campaign to Find New Police Chief

A little more than two months after she told the public she was not here to oversee a "frat house," Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced publicly her desire to find a new police chief by early 2017.

Schaaf held a news conference at 2 p.m. at Frank Ogawa Plaza alongside other city leaders, community members, youth and City Administrator Sabrina Landreth, who took over the chief's duties in June.

She said the city will hold 10 public forums next month, and she will select two community members to sit on the selection committee. City officials hope to have a permanent police chief by early 2017.

Schaaf pledged to include members of the community in the search for a new chief.

"Community engagement is critical for us to succeed in attracting the right reform-minded leader for this police department," she said. 

"If there is any hope at salvaging anything, it's going to have to come from the outside," said Cat Brooks, of the Anti Police Terror Project. "He or she is going to have to clean house and start all over again."

Starting this week, the city will begin holding community forums, including some geared toward youth, to find out what residents want in their next police chief.

"Someone who knows what they're doing, someone we can all trust as a youth and someone we don't fear," Oakland teen Shyra Dawkins said.

Over the summer, three Oakland police chiefs stepped down, or were told to step down from their posts, amid a sex scandal involving police officers and a sex worker, as well as a racist texting probe, which caused two police officers to be suspended this month.

At the time, Schaaf said she wouldn't tolerate any more nonsense.

“As a mayor of Oakland I am here to run a police department, not a frat house,” Schaaf said. She also called the culture at the police department "toxic" and "macho."

Landreth said she is already fielding calls from candidates from across the country, but she added finding the right fit will take time.

"At the end of the day, it's more important to find the right candidate than to rush it," Landreth said.

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